Army Radio working to end Shabbat desecration

Army Radio head says he is working to end forced Shabbat desecration of conscripts serving at the popular channel.

Tzvi Lev ,

Army Radio headquarters
Army Radio headquarters
Mark Neyman/GPO

Army Radio is making efforts to minimize forced Shabbat desecration by conscripts serving at the popular channel, the haredi Kikar Hashabbat website reported.

Army Radio, functioning since its inception as a military unit headed by a commander, had long been criticized for its Shabbat desecration, contravening official IDF policy that Shabbat desecration is allowed only in the case of a life-threatening incident.

Station head Shimon Alkabetz said on Wednesday that he is spearheading efforts that would minimize such desecration as much as possible. "Work is being done at the station to make Shabbat desecration be as minimal as possible," said Alkabetz.

Army Radio has broadcasted through Shabbat since its founding in 1950 as a nationwide Israeli radio network operated by the Israel Defense Forces. At the time, before the web and smartphones, being available to broadcast 24/7 was considered a defense imiperative.

Army Radio has come under fire in the past for failing to be objective and skewing towards the left side of the political map. On Wednesday, popular right-wing host Arel Segel left the station, despite enjoying higher ratings than any other journalist, and many Israelis blame the station's non-acceptance of his conservative views as the reason behind his sudden departure.

Another popular host made headlines in 2014 after he declared popular singer Ehud Banai persona non grata because Banai performed over the Green Line in Susia, the site of a Jewish community from Talmudic times where archeologists found the remains of a synagogue and mikvah, located near Hevron in Area C.